Completed in 1968 by Sheppard Robson and Partners the Claremont complex of buildings includes Claremont Tower, Claremont Bridge, Daysh and Building Science located on Claremont Road in the Newcastle University’s city centre campus.
Following incremental changes, extensions and alterations to the modest and well detailed rationalist design since its completion the complex has lost spatial legibility and material clarity, while decaying windows and services have resulted in a poor internal environment so that offices and seminar rooms suffer from glare, overheating and leaking.
The anticipated move of key departments opened up the opportunity to refurbish and strategise about the spatial relationships between the buildings and programmes internally. Design Office was asked to undertake an extensive consultation with building users to establish needs and priorities that can guide a future refurbishment project. Our embeddedness within the institution allowed us additional access and insights into the daily operation of this complex, supporting a close reading of its use and the complexities facing its refurbishment.
The project undertook a series of discussions with students, academic staff and maintenance staff across the the various Schools and various disciplinary departments that use the building through focus groups, face-to-face meetings, drop-in-events and two ‘booths’ positioned in the foyer of the complex that hosted feedback and discussion. Through these engagements, the project unearthed detailed needs and issues that served to establish a series of key principles to guide future designs and interventions in order to meet the desires and needs of building users.
Delivered in collaboration with Design Office